Tuesday, January 27, 2009

True Dedication

Yesterday’s article from the Reno Gazette-Journal really had an effect on us and made us start to think about the intense, inner desire of top athletes.

Drew Simpson suffered a terrible accident and while in a coma, made pitching motions with his arm, signaling that he was emerging from an unconscious state. It was the love and passion for his favorite sport that helped him recover. It was the unprecedented competitive spirit that keeps him focused on a full recovery. It absolutely amazes us that Drew is shagging balls and throwing bullpens again. That’s dedication. That’s true passion. And…that’s what it takes to be a next level athlete.

Collegiate sports are hard and getting harder. State schools are hard pressed to recruit anything less than the sure bet. NCAA rules and the shortened season have made it tougher for a position player to make a roster. Pitchers are at a premium and according to a few scouts we have talked with, an athlete’s size is beginning to matter, because you can’t teach a big athletic body.

So, how does an athlete break through all of this clutter? Be like Drew. To play for any college team, baseball must be your passion and your love. Dedication should be your mantra. Hard work and the pursuit of perfect mechanics need to become your ultimate goal.

We don’t care what anybody says, but baseball IS the most difficult sport to play of any sport on this planet. Split second decisions, hand eye coordination, speed, strength, agility, knowledge and thousands of variations of plays that could happen on every pitch is what makes this game the greatest game in the world. It takes a special person to harness the intricacies of this game just to achieve a small victory 3 out of 10 times on offense. On defense, despite the unpredictability of the outcome, a player is expected to complete his task 100% of the time and make plays on balls that have exit speeds off the bat at over 100mph.

Put the aforementioned paragraph into perspective. Are you, as an athlete prepared for that?

Drew Simpson dreams baseball…So do many of our sports legendary athletes. In an article we wrote earlier this year, Albert Pujols often says that as a youth baseball player in Osage Missouri, he often had recurring dreams about playing pro baseball. Those dreams propelled his desire and work ethic to become the greatest player in the Major Leagues today.

We can’t reiterate enough how important it is for today’s athlete to take any step to the next level as seriously as possible. There are no shortcuts to success in life. Working to secure an athletic scholarship is just as tough and requires just as much work and effort as being rewarded an academic scholarship.

Players seeking scholarships must stand out…and have the tools to be difference makers. They must show a gritty determination, a scrappy style of play and the type of hustle that only a Pete Rose or Ricky Henderson could appreciate. Players must show a willingness to be leaders in the weight room, competitors willing to win every sprint drill, and the type of guy that realizes that working overtime on his game will only produce results over time.

So players, as you enter into spring practices (many have already started), realize that if your dream is to play baseball at the next level, your game needs to be stepped up to a level that is heads and tails above anyone around you. Good luck to all this season!

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